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From the week of July 22, 2004

Funny Business

Take cover:Ah, Denver. You've got to love this town, where a guy who's only kinda funny, judging from Adam Cayton-Holland's "Get Up, Stand Up," in the July 15 issue, can not only climb to the top of the comic heap (by his report, at least), but also get Westword to put his story on the cover!

Lou Farrar
via the Internet

Let there be light:I sat next to Adam Cayton-Holland last Tuesday at the Squire. I'd seen him there before. During my chain-smoking, I asked him for a light. I made a little joke about needing a little lung cancer with my liver disease and anxiety attacks. "Yeah, I'm performing, too," he replied. Ben Roy went over to him and whispered something in his ear. I couldn't hear, but I knew what was said: "You're up after this next guy [pointing to a comic in front of us]. You've got five minutes." Adam was impressively calm, although I knew he was paraphrasing his opener in his head before distracting himself with the comic on stage.

He had a good set, despite two-thirds of the bar tuning him out. His set was certainly better than mine. I rushed through my material, turning six minutes into three. Thank God for Jake Sharon, who will pay close attention and laugh at every punch line with a genuine chuckle. He supports every comic who lays out their passion on the stage. I am happy to perform, bomb, sweat and triumph with Adam and every other comic in the Denver open-mike scene. See you at the Squire, Adam.

Peter Cohen
Golden

Butt out:I saw a movie once called Butt Seriously, Folks. My question is: Is it okay to plagiarize such a fine film for the headline of a simple article about five douchebag Denver comics?

Richard Saulker
Denver

Stand up and be counted:Congratulations on a great article. Adam Cayton-Holland's story took me back to my first few months of stand-up, back in Boston, and really captured the essence of open-mike comedy.

Chuck Roy
Denver

Nice try:Thank you for going out on a limb with Adam Cayton-Holland's story on the triumphs and trepidations of amateur comics in Denver. It proved a pleasant break from Westword's usual attempts to capture the feeling of any local scene or personality, attempts that all too often smack of a writer starting with an adjective and working backwards: Cool I and my with-it sense of culture went down to the happening LoDo boîte to listen to the hip new band and revel in the vogue vibes emanating from the stylish crowd who will surely enjoy sipping next week's fad coffee drink while swallowing my stylish interpretation of Denver's fashionable nightlife.

It sure must be nice to feel so very plugged in to the scene, and to feel comfortable presenting yourselves as such in print; it must be even nicer to publicly feel this way and yet realize that honest and serious writers like Cayton-Holland will still work with the rest of you.

That being said, it must be nicer still -- nay, it must be supremely self-validating -- for Westword management to reap the benefits of not one but two true stories on rape (and unnecessary self-incrimination and, to some extent, as even David Holthouse made note in his July 8 "Arrested Development" piece, on publicity and self-promotion via print and televised primetime news) and then, within a week, while the letters of commiseration and thanks are pouring in, print a joke in Cayton-Holland's cover story about how rape is only the start to a party at the University of Colorado's althletic recruiting events.

I, myself, am not easily offended by such jokes, as I believe that there is no real malice behind them, and I find it much easier to be offended by the fact that real instances of rape and malice do exist, irrespective of stand-ups' jokes and writers' scribblings. But I am quite easily offended by a newspaper that cannot take as strong a moral stand on the issue as two of its writers have (in two wholly different stances, no less), a paper that will evince real and heartfelt sympathy for the intent of Holthouse's piece for as long as such feelings are still literarily relevant, then will affect real and heartfelt humor for the intent of Cayton-Holland's piece as long as readers find rape funny in the right context, and then will surely again posture itself as sensitive and understanding after Holthouse's next appearance on FirstNews swings the pendulum back.

So, cheers to Westword for having the marbles to take a chance on a writer or two who haven't yet met the quota of pretension, to overspice many of its bland stories with attention-grabbing expletives, and to be perfectly comfortable in its presentation of real moral issues through the two-sided refractory lens of public entertainment. I thank you on behalf of my cage full of overfed birds and my puppies currently being house-broken.

Benny Jacobstein
Denver


Social Insecurity

Testing his medal:Regarding Michael Roberts's "I Fathered a Terror Suspect," in the July 15 issue:

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